Boris Johnson vows to block European Super League
Uefa is threatening to ban players of clubs in the newly proposed European Super League from playing in Euro 2020 as well as the World Cup and Champions League, as president Aleksander Ceferin hit out at those behind the breakaway competition in an explosive press conference today, calling Manchester United executive Ed Woodward a “snake”.
United are one of the ringleaders in a new plot among Europe’s major clubs to breakaway from Uefa’s Champions League and form a new Super League which would see the founding members rewarded with protected rights to play in the competition every year, effectively concentrating the sport’s power and money to a select few and undermining the notion of fair and open competition.
Plans were announced last night as United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham put their names to the highly controversial proposal. They were joined by three clubs from Italy – AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus – and three clubs from Spain – Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid – in announcing their position as founders of a new breakaway competition.
The backlash has been fierce, with leagues, football associations, governments, pundits and players all condemning the manoeuvre, its effects on football’s long-standing competitive pyramid and the owners’ brazen disregard for the cultural, social and sporting history of the clubs they purport to represent. The government have also responded forcefully and have announced a fan-led review into football governance.
Follow all the latest below as we will bring breaking news, reaction and analysis through the day on this seismic story for European football.
Super League news – summary
Here is the story of an extraordinary 24 hours in the world of football – hours which will have major ramifications for the game long into the future.
Last night, 12 of the wealthiest clubs in Europe announced they had founded a new Super League which would see them shun Uefa’s Champions League for their own competition. The Super League would reward founding members with protected rights to play in the competition every year, concentrating the sport’s power and money to a select few and undermining the notion of fair and open competition.
The plans were immediately condemned by all sides. Gary Neville captured the mood in an impassioned speech on Sky Sports earlier on Sunday, describing the Super League as “scandalous” and a “criminal act”, and his views were echoed by many others in the game.
Uefa has reacted furiously. President Aleksander Ceferin read a long statement on Monday before tearing into the key actors behind the project, and threatening to ban clubs and players from Uefa competition and major international tournaments. The rift between Uefa and the Super League clubs would “never” heal, he said. There are also claims from a senior Uefa member that Chelsea, Manchester City and Real Madrid could be kicked out of the Champions League semi-finals.
Players were quiet on the topic throughout the day, but some spoke up. Leeds United’s players then wore t-shirts in protest against the Super League ahead of their match with Liverpool.
While Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel elected to not criticise the plans, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp reiterated his opposition to the Super League ahead of his side’s match against Leeds.
Uefa also announced its new Champions League format, beefing up the competition to include more teams and more matches in what was meant to be a compromise to suit all sides. The plans were controversial in themselves and had been criticised for leaning too favourably towards the wealthiest clubs, but evidently it did not go far enough in securing the financial aims of the Super League dozen.
So what next? The Premier League has called an emergency meeting tomorrow between the ‘other 14’ clubs. What is likely to follow now is fraught and protracted legal wrangling between all sides – the breakaway 12, domestic leagues, national associations, Uefa, Fifa, players, broadcasters – while the lifeblood of the game for more than a century, the supporters, watch on.
Lawrence Ostlere19 April 2021 17:07
The proposed Super League could see viewership and broadcasting contracts drop at the domestic levels and ultimately hurt credit ratings of clubs not involved in the breakaway, according to a senior vice president of sports financing at DBRS Morningstar.
Michael Goldberg of DBRS Morningstar said the Super League model promotes greater disparity and will see top clubs be more financially well off, able to lure better players and easily win matches in domestic competitions relative to how they were doing so far.
“From a financial standpoint the clubs that are in this Super League will probably be better off but I think it will maybe diminish the product that they’re putting on in their domestic league,” Goldberg told Reuters on Monday.
“Then the clubs that aren’t participating in the Super League might be at even more of a disadvantage sense than they were before.”
Twelve of Europe’s top clubs announced on Sunday they were launching a breakaway, a move that has been criticised by soccer authorities, fans and politicians who say it entrenches the wealth and power of a small elite of clubs.
Goldberg said broadcasting and sponsorship revenues at the domestic levels will still be fairly significant but could go down over time as disparity grows wider and fans “don’t want to watch 5-0 results every single week.”
Jack Rathborn19 April 2021 21:30
Jurgen Klopp ‘destroyed Liverpool owners on national television’, claims Gary Neville
Jack Rathborn19 April 2021 20:38
Leeds players protest Super League plans
Leeds United’s players wore t-shirts in protest of plans for a new European Super League ahead of their match against Liverpool.
Liverpool are one of six English clubs confirmed as participants in the breakaway competiton.
The t-shirts displayed the message, “Earn it”- referencing the ‘closed shop’ nature of the planned competition and the guaranteed entry for at least 15 of its founding clubs.
Jamie Braidwood19 April 2021 19:41
European Super League: Bayern Munich ‘not involved’ in breakaway tournament
Six Premier League clubs are due to take part, along with three from La Liga in Spain and three from Italy’s Serie A. Other sides are expected to join, but the German champions will not be one of them, former Bayern and West Germany international Rummenigge has said.
Manchester United, Man City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham are the English clubs due to be involved, while Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Barcelona join them from Spain, alongside Italian teams Juventus, AC Milan and Inter Milan.
Jack Rathborn19 April 2021 19:31
Jack Rathborn19 April 2021 19:30
Gary Neville calls for Glazer family to sell Manchester United and leave country: ‘They are scavengers’
The Red Devils were confirmed as one of the 12 founding members of this rival competition to the Champions League on Sunday evening.
And a furious Neville reiterated his desire to fight against the move, while condemning the owners of his former club.
“I thought it was a criminal act,” Neville told Sky Sports. “I was half hoping they would, off the backlash, they would rethink it. I saw the statement and it had Joel Glazer’s statement to it, and I thought, ‘this is a problem’.
“He’s intelligent, he knows what he wants. I thought this is serious. He’s not backing down. He’ll try force this through. They’ve been through hell at Manchester United. They don’t care. When I saw his name I was really worried.
Jack Rathborn19 April 2021 19:28
Klopp remains critical of Super League plans despite Liverpool support
Jurgen Klopp has said his opposition to a European Super League “hasn’t changed” after plans for a new breakaway competiton, which would include Liverpool, were confirmed on Sunday.
“For me, the Champions League is the Super League, in which you do not always end up playing against the same teams.”
Plans for the competition have been condemned by the UK Government, the Premier League and Uefa, and have received a fierce backlash from supporters.
Speaking ahead of Liverpool’s match against Leeds United, Klopp said: “I’ve got the same opinion about the Super League.
“It’s a tough one, people aren’t happy, I understand that. Me and the players aren’t involved in the process.
“I have no issues with the Champions League. I like the fact West Ham may play Champions League next year. I like that they have that chance.”
Klopp was also asked about the reception Liverpool received when they arrived at Elland Road, as well as a t-shirt demonstration from the Leeds United players.
He added: “The most important part of football are the supporters and the team. We have to make sure nothing gets between that.
“I’ve heard there are banners but the players didn’t do anything wrong. We have to all stick together. We can show nobody has to walk alone in these moments.
“There are things to sort but nothing to do with the football or the relationship between the supporters and the team.
“In tough times you have to show you stick together. It doesn’t mean you have to agree with everything but again the boys did nothing wrong. I want to make sure everyone knows that.”
Jamie Braidwood19 April 2021 19:16
Liverpool and Leeds fans protest before Premier League match
Liverpool’s team bus was booed by protesting fans as it arrived at Elland Road ahead of the club’s Premier League fixture against Leeds tonight.
The match is the first to be played since plans for a new Super League were confirmed late on Sunday.
Supporters of both Liverpool and Leeds United voiced their opposition to the competition as the bus arrived at the ground, while similar protests have taken place outside Manchester United and Arsenal’s stadiums, as well as Anfield, today.
Meanwhile, inside Elland Road, Leeds United have also made their message clear.
Jamie Braidwood19 April 2021 18:54
Prince William against Super League plans
The Duke of Cambridge, Prince William, has added his voice to the condemnation of the European Super League, and has said he “shares the concerns of fans” about the breakaway tournament.
Prince William is also the the president of the Football Association.
He said: “Now, more than ever, we must protect the entire football community – from the top level to the grassroots – and the values of competition and fairness at its core.
“I share the concerns of fans about the proposed Super League and the damage it risks causing to the game we love.”
Jamie Braidwood19 April 2021 18:37